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Psychiatry & Clinical Psychopharmacology eski adıyla Klinik Psikofarmakoloji Bulteni-Bulletin of Clinical Psychopharmacology


Editorial Manager ® for Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology

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Abu Ali al-Husayn ibn Abdallah ibn Sina (Bukhara, 980- Hamadan, 1037)

“I prefer a short life with width to a narrow one with length.” – Ibn Sina

Abu Ali al-Husayn ibn Abdallah ibn Sina, commonly known in the West by Avicenna, was a significant muslim scientist, philosopher, and physician. Born in 980CE in Bukhara, Khorasan (modern day Uzbekistan), he excelled in astronomy, geology, palaeontology, psychology, physics, mathematics and poetry, and is ranked as one of the greatest philosophers and physicians of the pervious millenium. Ibn Sina went on to write the Canon of Medicine, which became one of the most significant contributions to the field of medicine and still forms the basis for modern clinical trials and pharmacology. Ibn Sina’s father was a prominent scholar and government official in the region of Balkh (in modern day Afghanistan). Ibn Sina showed a great aptitude for learning from an early age. Under the direction of his father, his education was carefully planned and received whilst being exposed to some of the most learned masters of the time. Having memorised the Quran by the age of ten as well as extensive education in Persian and Arabic poetry, he went on to master principles in physics, mathematics and metaphysics. He soon outgrew the education he was receiving from his teachers and took charge of his own self-education by the age of 18. He began studying natural science and rudimentary metaphysics as well as medical theory; increasingly dissatisfied with solely a theoretical understanding of medicine, he began to practise and treat the sick at early age. After successfully treating the Samanid prince Nur ibn Mansur, he was allowed access to the extensive royal library, which enabled him to further his intellectual acumen. Completed in 1025, the Canon of Medicine was an extensive 14 volumes. The book was to become one of the pillars of medical theory and practice, discussing the discovery of infectious diseases and introducing the concept of quarantine as a means of limiting the spread of infections. Ibn Sina has been widely recognized as the first physician to accurately document the anatomy of the human eye and the depiction of eye infections as well as describing the symptoms of diabetes and discussing the mechanisms of the heart and the function of the cardiac valve. In the Western world Ibn Sina’s influence was deeply felt and his book, the Canon of Medicine was translated into Latin. Ibn Sina’s ideas, along with those of the Christian philosopher and theologian, St Augustine, would form the foundations for work produced by the medieval scholastics, particularly in the Franciscan schools. In medicine the Canon served as the medical authority for several centuries, and Ibn Sina enjoyed an undisputed rank of honour comparable only to the early Greek physicians Hippocrates and Galen. In 1300 Dante Alighieri depicted Ibn Sina in his Divine Comedy, aligning him for eternity with some of the greatest men in history such as Homer, Virgil, Socrates, and Plato. George Sarton has described him as the one of the greatest thinkers and medical scholars in history and so he remains to this very day.

Samet Kose, MD, PhD
Franklin, Tennessee